During my recent visit to Lecce in Puglia, I took a closer look at the beautiful baroque buildings that made this city famous and was mesmerised by the complex patterns that erosion has created.
The architecture style in Lecce is so unique that it was given its own name – “Barocco leccese“. The city’s opulent palaces and churches are built with Lecce stone, which has been used since ancient times. This chalky stone (in Salento dialect “the leccisu”) is known as “pietra gentile”, or “gentle stone” due to its softness and malleability. It is composed of limestone, granite and micro-fossils from marine sediment and the oldest layers date back to 24 million ago.
If you look at the Baroque building in Lecce close-up you will see their slow ageing that gives them shabby charm and, at times, ghostly air of slow decay. The shades of the soft Lecce stone change from warm creamy white to darker butter yellowish shades. The old buildings over the centuries absorb the dust and dirt of the city life and become darker.
Slow down and look at what others might not notice. The old tired Lecce is slowly giving up to the elements and its ageing is full of beauty and quietude.